TIME Explores ‘The Angelina Effect': A Wave Of Elective Mastectomies

The Kate Middleton Effect has shrunken handbags and nearly shuttered a British design house, but the next movement in celeb-started trends is something a bit more serious. This week, Angelina Jolie covers TIME magazine, and the feature explores her recent decision to undergo preventative double mastectomies.

After testing positive for the BRCA1 gene — which is strongly correlated to breast cancer development — Jolie opted for extreme measures, having both of her breasts removed. While TIME says her risk of developing breast cancer went from an alarming 87 percent down to five percent after the surgery, the magazine expores whether this course of action is right for the swarms of women now considering similar preventative action:

“Just over one-tenth of 1% of all women carry the same BRCA mutation Jolie has, and yet doctors expect a stampede of women requesting the test. In the U.S., 36% of women who test positive opt for preventive mastectomy, but some doctors argue that regular MRIs and other screening tests may be sufficient to detect the disease, and that less radical procedures, like lumpectomies, may be sufficient to treat it if it does occur.”

As much as we love Mrs. Brad Pitt — the cultural ambassador, the child collector, the amazing wearer of clothes — the thought that everyday women would consider undergoing such a serious surgery because a celebrity has done it goes further than our comfort zone. Wanna buy the River Island crop-top designed by Rihanna? Go for it. Wanna dive head first onto Justin Bieber’s piano mid-concert? Hey, it’s your weekend. But when our medical decisions are being influenced by a widespread case of celebrity worship syndrome, things have gone too far.

That’s our two cents. The TIME cover can be seen below, and their take on the ‘trend’ is inside the issue on newsstands now.

Photograph by by Melodie McDaniel/Trunk Archive


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